|International Ice-Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships
2002 in Sweden
On May 11 2002 Slovakia won its first-ever gold medal at the World Hockey Championships with a 4-3 victory over Russia. In the semifinal match Slovakia defeated Sweden 3-2, and earlier in the quarterfinal, Slovakia also eliminated the Olympic winner Canada 3-2. During the tournament Slovakia actually won two matches both with Sweden and with Russia. A day ago, Sweden won a bronze medal with a 5-3 victory over Finland (that eliminated the U.S. team in quarterfinals).
Three months ago in Salt Lake City, the Slovaks finished 13th of 14 teams instead of winning a medal. The NHL shut down after the night of February 13th, so that the NHL players from Canada, USA, Czechia, Sweden, Finland and Russia could compete in the Olympic tournament. Unlike these nations, Slovakia had to compete in the preliminary round from February 9th to the 14th and did not have the possibility to use its best players, and evetually did not qualify for the main part of the Olympic hockey tournament. If the USA and Canada could play at the Olympics during the NHL break and use their best players, and Slovakia could not; the Olympic tournament can hardly be called fair. And now, after less than three months, everybody can see how good the both Olympic finalists are...